Divorce due to Ministry


Even celibate priests and nuns who do full time mission/ministry take time to be with their communities and most of the time have separate quarters for their communities. A family who’s involved in full time ministry should do the same.

The chaplain for an interdenom Christian group I’m part of is also an AG pastor and as devoted as he is to his ministry towards others, his first duty is towards his family. If one of his kids is sick, I don’t expect to see him in his office. Similarly, our priest is a Dominican priest who’s dedicated to his ministry but at the same time, his first duty is towards his order, especially since he was sent here through them (on orders from our bishop). Regardless of your vocation, your first priority is the vows you took, whether as husband and wife, as an ordained priest/deacon, or as a religious. Nothing should contradict that.

And just because I’m a woman doesn’t mean I’m being soft on women. If this was a female pastor, I’d give the same answer.


I would certainly not call you a bad christian. As I said in my initial post, we don’t know enough about the specific situation to judge.

As far as the later posts go, particularly my last post, we are into the realm of hypotheticals and interpretation of God’s will.

The declaration was made that the HS would not send contradictory messages and that the upshot is that the man is at fault for somehow neglecting his duties as husband and father. I only wished to point out that there is more than one possibility here that would still not be contradictory on God’s part.

As to your other points, they are perfectly valid. Everyone needs a break to recharge. If this gentlemen is not providing this for the family, he is probably not doing it for himself either and is headed for a breakdown of some kind.

Hopefully the OP has gotton some good insights anyway from all our meandering.



This is how I feel. And I don’t think anybody has addressed the issue that by and large, a homeless shelter (which is basically what this is) are not places one would want to have their children. If they had no kids, I would have less of a problem with this. But while the homeless definitely need ministry, they may have problems above and beyond (either because of or causing) their homeless status that could be dangerous for the children.

We don’t know if this ministry started after or before the marriage, or if indeed he was a minister before they married. But I know that I would want my kids to have their OWN place to live, as elitist as that sounds.


I’m with the poster who said that this is precisely why priests don’t marry. This is not a Catholic faith, so I’m hard pressed to give any advice–I don’t think that religious vocations should compete with lay vocations (ie marital and parental life) You can’t serve two masters (and lay vocations are as important as religious ones, albeit different)…and although, it’s admirable to home, clothe, and help the homeless–in fact, we are called to do this–if it is AT THE DETRIMENT to your marriage and parenting time, then who are you helping–in the end?


There’s a big clue right there.


If the wife has rejected God’s call, are you comfortable saying that his first obligation then isn’t to help her see this error and care - first and foremost as pastor, father, and husband - for the care of the wife he vowed to serve till death do they part?

If that be the case than the greater good is to attend to his wives needs to see her achieve God’s dream for her, not cut her and the kids off and let them float.

Again this brings us to conclude Dinine authorship of contradiction that is rather needless. I just can’t do that.


You raise a good point.
The only way we could resolve this would be to understand what is in their hearts and what they have gone through to reach this point.
Since we obviously don’t have that information, we cannot make a sound assessment.



Greetings all!

I’m the OP and want to thank you for your heart felt response. I was surprised to see the scales tipped so much in one direction.

The difficult part of the solutions provided is to actually tell the minister that he is actually working against God. After all he is on fire for the Lord and his call to “do for the least of my brothers…”. Didn’t the Lord also tell one disciple not to go and spend final days with his own father, but to let “the dead bury the dead”, and that whoever is not for us is “against us”.

It’s possilbe that the minister could see his wife as “backsliding” and all the differing opinions as the work of Satan.

I know scripture states that God “hates” diivorce and that no man should separate a husband and wife. How can I present these and similar scripture in an effort to “offset” his feeling that he is following scripture in dedicating his life to the homeless (and using the scripture noted above as his basis)?

Sincerely in Christ,



You are in a difficult situation. I would advise a lot of prayer for guidance from the HS. After all it is this “call to minister” vs “call to married life” that is in question. If, as others have said, there is something amiss in his interpretation of the call, then the HS may provide you with the insight to help him. If the HS does not provide sais insight, perhaps it is best to remain silent.

As far as biblical basis for your argument I can offer none, although I am sure many here will. The Bible is an amazingly flexible instrument in the right hands.

Now having said that I will offer a couple of things to consider:

  1. The Law of Love says to Love our neighbor as ourselves. So how does causing this pain and grief to his wife and children fit into the Law of Love?

  2. Why does the decision have to be one or the other? Why can’t he come to some arrangement where he can seperate the ministry from his family? To provide space for his DW to rest and recharge.

  3. Your friend may need to realize that his wife is called to a different ministry. One that is no less important. That of raising their children. Her ministry, which is also part of his, has different requirements than the shelter ministry and he needs to consider how best to balance the two rather than simply going gung ho after one to the extreme detriment of the other.

I have said a prayer for you and them this morning



Sounds like they need marriage counseling.


I think it is imprudent to play “who’s at fault” here. Why does it matter? And when is it really all that profitable to play that game in a marriage? This is about love, folks, not pointing fingers.

Perhaps his wife is being selfish here…perhaps she really has been pushed over the edge…I don’t know. And I think it’s slightly irrelevant for us and something that the couple will have to work out somehow.

When it comes to marriage and ministry conflicting, the question that must be answered is: “To whom did I make a vow before God?” Regardless of the great work of ministry, for a married person the call to marriage is greater. If he wants to know what he should do then he needs to look at the vow he made to his wife. Perhaps his ministry needs to be put on hold or lightened for a while for the sake of vow he made before God. We can often question what God’s will is, but when there’s a vow made, it’s a little more clear.

I also think bringing up the priestly celibacy issue is irrelevant as well…1) because they’re protestants and 2) because this could just as easily happen with a Catholic couple who has devoted their life to lay ministry…and we certainly hope we don’t want to rid ourselves of lay ministry and leave it all to our already over-worked priests!


No matter what is, this is true: Little kids who are not homeless do not need to be raised in a homeless shelter. I can honestly understand why a mother would not want her children raised in a homeless shelter,and would want a normal home, even if it is just a small apartment.


The first verse that sprang to mind for me was 1 Timothy 5:8

8 Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

You can search an online concordance for more. Good luck and I’ll keep this family in my prayers.


Well Put:thumbsup:
I suppose we did get a bit off track here with the “what-if’s”/Blame-game stuff. It is a natural outgrowth of the OP’s request for input so he can help his friends.

Hiopefully the OP got what he needed.



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